Supporting individuals and families facing homelessness is a key Government priority. The Programme for Government, Our Shared Future, commits to reducing and preventing homelessness and provides detail on how the Government is approaching this work as a priority. Homelessness is complex and causal factors and family circumstances vary considerably as do the responses needed. Homelessness is also inter-related with the other areas of the housing system and with broader social and healthcare policy and service delivery. Therefore, a whole of Government approach is required in dealing with this challenge.
However, important progress is being made. There were 8,200 individuals accessing homeless emergency accommodation at the end of 2020, a decrease of 1,531 individuals, or 15.7%, on the 9,731 total recorded at end of 2019.
The Report referred to by the Deputy is on LGBTQI+ Youth Homelessness in Ireland by Focus Ireland. I want to assure the Deputy that I will be continuing to accord priority to working with my colleagues in Government to ensure the delivery of the appropriate responses to the recommendations in this report and to addressing homelessness more generally. My Department directly supports implementation of the National LGBTI+ Inclusion Strategy and an official from my Department who has responsibility for homelessness is a member of the Committee which reviews implementation of this Strategy.
The issues raised in this report are also closely inter-related with broader social and healthcare policy and service delivery matters. The High Level Homelessness Taskforce is providing a forum for engagement with key organisations working to address issues such as these.